BOOK REVIEW: The DD Group: An Online Investigation Into the Death of Marilyn Monroe By David Marshall


I wanted to review this book for the August book, but felt that with the sudden death of Michael Jackson, it would be quite fitting to present my thoughts now.

I’m very interested in the autopsy and the way his Doctors prescribed his medication and from what sources; the injections etc… Marilyn had injections frequently and their deaths have an eerie similarity. Makes me think perhaps she wasn’t actually “alone” when she died and they were unable to revive her but were able to hide this fact and those involved due to the times, there’s certainly interesting links to the deaths and aftermath and of course the 911 call from Michael’s home is there for the world to hear.

For those who are not familiar with this book it is basically the findings from January through October 2003, when a group of individuals engaged in an in-depth discussion of the death of Marilyn Monroe. The result is The DD Group, the highly detailed work of author David Marshall. It chronicles Marilyn’s final day and her tragic and puzzling demise. Using available information including police reports, vintage magazine and newspaper accounts, documentaries and biographies, and correspondence with some of the principals in the case, the group had one purpose-to reconstruct the events of Monroe’s last summer and reach an understanding of what likely took place on August 4, 1962.

By verifying sources, considering agendas, and, above all else, applying logic, the DD Group was able to weed through the conflicting and often contradictory reports. Through careful research and study, they arrived at the most comprehensive understanding of the events surrounding Monroe’s disturbing death.After reading the book I contacted David to go over the major issues that had struck a chord with me and we had a discussion on the points I’d raised, I’ve detailed our conversation below as it is clear and interesting and in a way it’s kind of like how the book flows so I saw no need to write it any different. Here’s what we discussed:-

We would assume that Marilyn’s relationship with JFK and Bobby were something important to her?

There’s no specific evidence to suggest it was more than friendship with Bobby, perhaps in a flirty way?

There was perhaps one or two encounters with JFK that were intimate but she never saw him after the birthday party?

Bobby visited the day she died, perhaps to say that it was best to distance themselves from each other because of who they were and it could create a potential scandal (although nothing had gone on)?

Two people who never gave proper police statements were Pat Newcomb and Peter Lawford, were also the two who were close to the Kennedy brothers?

A few years later there was a conversation with Greenson and he says “Talk to Bobby Kennedy” was that a genuine recording?

Do you think then also that it’s likely that Marilyn gave herself the lethal enema unintentionally, which was an accident due to an oversight of the two doctors/Eunice?

I found the book highly entertaining, if not frustrating at times if only because you have done a thorough investigation and yet it was not done properly by the authorities at the time when it happened. These are points I’d like to include in my review and any expansion or guidance you can offer would be most appreciated.

Hey Fraser– I would be honored for you to review The DD Group. The book is a bit dated now but I think still holds up and contains a lot of information most haven’t seen or thought about. As to your points, here’s my thoughts. Keep in mind that this late in the day it is impossible to prove much — so these are only my thoughts or “educated” guesses.I think the relationship with the President was very important to Marilyn — especially for this period of her life.

I also think however that the relationship has been blown out of proportion over the years and the intimate portion of MM’s relationship with JFK really was only a few instances. I do think that he respected her as much as a man of his times could and, like RFK, was impressed with her intellect. But, that said, I also believe thatJFK, while impressed, still thought of her primarily as “just another dame” — smarter than thought at first, fun and pretty, but not much more. With RFK, my opinion is that it was never a physical or intimate relationship, although surely flirty — on both parts — and that he likely thought a great deal more of her than Jack. But there is no evidence that it went further than that and, IMO, the idea of the two becoming intimate is out of character for both.

Personally I think RFK had a great deal of empathy for Marilyn and although he was ultimately the one to tell her to back off, felt bad about the way she was being shoved off. I doubt if she ever encountered JFK after the night of the Krim party.

And yes, I truly believe that RFK was in Brentwood the day of Marilyn’s death and the reason for the visit was to once and for all sever all future contact between Marilyn and either of the Kennedy brothers.In the case of Pat Newcomb, I am sure that her relationship with the family has something to do with her never having given a real interview. With Peter Lawford it is more of a case of the guy not shutting up — and changing his story more than even Mrs Murray as the years went on.

The Greenson comment is real — and I have heard it. It appears on the Say Goodbye to the President documentary. And I believe that what he was referring to is that if you want to know what went on that day in Marilyn home, Bobby Kennedy is the one to ask.

If the overdose was indeed a result of a misjudgement and taken via an enema, it could have been Marilyn’s mistake but I find it hard to believe that either Greenson or Engleberg would have entrusted her to do the measurements. But, like some of the other theories, this could have been the case. For myself, I do not believe that the death was intentional or planned.It seems odd that her phone records were missing… was it just for a specific date?

This is one instance where the Kennedy’s had to have played their hand– who else could have ordered the records removed? I think this was done primarily to make sure reporters didn’t take a look at the calls first which likely included several calls made by Marilyn attempting to track down RFK that weekend, including calls to the St Francis in San Francisco and very possibly the Bates ranch. The records would also have shown the times of calls coming from the house that night and likely would have shown a flurry of calls around nine or nine-thirty when, I believe, Marilyn’s death was discovered — and would have proved embarrassing as the death was not reported as being discovered until after midnight. They would have also shown who was notified before the police.

The missing records were for the month of August only and would show only toll or collect calls. Some handwritten notes have been discovered showing some of the numbers but not times.This is the most damning evidence of all.I’ve totally re-thought my beliefs because of your book.I hadn’t really wanted to believe that Bobby was there or that it was anymore than the fling with Jack and the birthday.It must’ve been a terrible thing for them to live with. I know they didn’t have a hand in her death but to have maybe pushed her over the edge…She was just so fragile.My ideas about her death changed as well thanks to that group. And I wholeheartedly agree with you. Although I do think that that afternoon and the relationship with the president pushed her over the edge, I do not believe or have seen any evidence of the administration having anything to do with her death.

And I think both Marilyn’s death and his brother’s brought about a huge change in RFK and heightened his empathy for the underdog. What people tend to forget is just how fragile Marilyn was at that specific time and after ingesting several Chloral Hydrates during the day, her judgement was likely impaired. The death, I think, was a spur of the moment thing that was likely regretted — thus the call to both Lawford and Roberts — unfortunately other people’s fears of scandal and getting involved killed any hope of a rescue…

Thanks to the DD group we can at least see a cohesive structure of events.David has just published his second Marilyn related book, Life Among the Cannibals: The Life and Times of Marilyn Monroe 1962 – 2003. It’s an interesting and well thought account of Marilyn’s life had she survived the overdose, and how her life may have progressed.

Both books make marvellous reading and it was this book that initially turned me onto re-assessing the DD Group and contact David direct.I would like to say a special “thank you” to David for his input and help with this review.

By Fraser Penney